Let's assume a scenario where wheel damages is what ends Curiosity's mobility on Mars. What kind of damages to the wheels would cause immobilization? For example, would a wheel collapse (i.e. become too deformed to roll) if the barrel that touches the surface was cut straight through perpendicularly to the rolling direction?

Given that Curiosity would traverse terrain as rough as the roughest one thus far encountered, is there an estimation of the kilometer lifetime of the wheels?

https://behindtheblack.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/2459ML0130560030903593E01_DXXXreducedcroppedannotated.jpg Development of wheel damages during 661 sols.

enter image description here A wheel from the side before launch.


1 Answer 1


From this Planetary Blog post:

Driving on worst-case terrain with no consideration can destroy the wheels quickly:

The really bad stuff, it only takes 8 kilometers or so and you can destroy the wheel.

This is a wheel that was tested to destruction:

enter image description here

As you can see, it's still round, it's coming apart lengthwise and at some point the wheel splits in two. The loose half is then likely to tangle between the remaining half and the wheel support.


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